Does Your Marketing Make This Social Faux Pas?

by Mistina Picciano on January 25, 2011

Imagine you’re at a cocktail party. You bump into an attractive member of the opposite sex and start chatting. This pleasant person proceeds to share details about his (or her) education, career history, awards, community service…

How long would it take for your eyes to glaze over?

We know that society generally frowns upon braggarts. Yet, when it comes to marketing materials, many companies think this self-centered approach is perfectly acceptable.

Don’t believe me? Pick up a brochure or visit a company website.

  • Does the message address what you as a prospective client can gain by working with this business?
  • Or is it a boring resume of who they are, what they do, and how long they’ve been in business?

It’s not about you

You’ve heard this adage before: Prospects don’t care about what you know until they know you care.

When creating a marketing piece, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my audience?
  • Why are they interested in my product or service?
  • How can I solve their problem or improve their situation?

Spend some time thinking about your answers. How does each question relate to your specific business?

No two snowflakes…

Every company is different, on both sides of the transaction. To answer the above questions, you need a clear vision:

  • What sets your firm apart: quality, price or innovation?
  • Who is your ideal client?

For instance, in the contract security sector, customers choose partners almost exclusively on price. Most security guard firms compete by cutting costs and underbidding one another. A handful of companies focus on quality, not price—a tough sell in an industry where guards are seen as interchangeable as paper clips.

Yet, these quality firms have succeeded. Why?

  • They offer a unique solution.
  • They target the right audience.

Instead of trying to persuade security directors and purchasing managers of the value they offer, these companies spend their time catering to the small minority that already recognizes that value. In fact, they turn away those inquiries that don’t fit their client profile.

So, what unique solution do you offer to your target audience?

You can’t please everyone

Now that you’ve squared away what you offer and to whom, think about how your marketing materials can speak directly to your audience.

Often, prospective clients fall into different categories. Your marketing materials should accommodate the needs of each audience. Some suggestions follow:

  • Create a series of brochures or PDFs that target different segments. Prioritize the audiences, based on size or revenue potential.
  • Develop a customizable marketing kit that allows you to tailor the contents for each audience.
  • Segment your email list and target your online marketing according to the interests and needs of each group.
  • Organize your website by audience. Guide visitors to the relevant section with an efficient information architecture.

The point

As consumers, we’re burned out by all the marketing messages bombarding us from every direction. As business owners and marketers, we should stop wasting time and money adding to the noise.


  • Blather on about yourself.
  • Try to be all things to all people.


  • Recognize your strengths.
  • Target your ideal customer—not every potential prospect in the universe.
  • Position yourself as helpful to that ideal individual or organization.

Remember, marketing requires testing to see what works and what falls flat. Engaging your prospects in conversation will reap more rewards than a boring monologue about your company’s background and offerings.

Do you have any questions or success stories to share? We’d love to hear them. And if you’re interested in a free evaluation of your marketing materials, shoot me an email.

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